A silent way to talk to your kids about anything
I am the textbook definition of an oversharer. I will talk about almost anything with just about anyone. On Friday, I was with a group of women and it was relevant --- at least to me --- to mention that I was doing some Kegels right then and there. And that doesn't embarrass me at all.
So when it comes to parenting, I don't struggle to talk about the big topics, the scary topics, or the embarrassing topics. If anything, I probably embarrass the heck out of my kids by being too open about all the things. But I know I am the exception, not the rule. I know a ton of moms who begin to blush at even the faintest hint towards the birds and the bees conversation. Or girl problem discussions. Or any number of other topics. And then there are times we need to talk about with our kids but aren't sure how to do it because we are angry, or hurt, or disappointed. It might get heated. We might say things we regret. That goes both ways, too. Sometimes it is much better to cool off and come back to a conversation. To add insult to injury for my kids sometimes, I am a very confrontational person. If I have a problem, I will come to you with it so we can fix it and move on. I can be aggressive and overbearing. This can make it tough for anyone to feel safe and free to be completely open with me.
Knowing myself and knowing how badly I wanted to foster a great relationship with my daughter, I bought us a shared journal. Eons and eons ago, I read an article about a mom who journaled back-and-forth with her daughter about the tough stuff. The article mentioned how it created a safe space for her tween and eventually teen to doodle about the things that were bugging her, or explain her point of view, or talk about some of the things that were simply too hard to put into words face-to-face. I loved the idea, so when Eliza was old enough to write, I gave her a journal and we began writing letters to each other.
I would share more about what's in the journal if it weren't our private place. So instead of oversharing yet again, I am maintaining our sacred, safe space for just the two of us. Suffice it to say that if we were running from a fire in our home, and we had time to grab three things, this journal would be one of them. Out of all the decisions I've made as a parent, this is one that has proven to be a gem. And as Eliza will be a teenager in a handful of weeks, I think we will have plenty of opportunity to fill more pages. Maybe the next time I write her, I'll completely embarrass her and tell her about Kegels and pelvic floors.
J/K. Good heavens, there are some things she definitely doesn't need to know about. Yet.